Thursday, October 30, 2008

One economic goal achieved

This past summer, we moved the family from Park Forest to Downers Grove. Mostly so the kids would have much better schools, but also because we wanted to be closer to where I work (and where my wife might find better part-time opportunities around the baby's schedule). At the height of the gasoline crunch, we figured that what with driving 35 miles each way, plus tolls, I would be paying out over $200 a month just to get to and from work. That's figuring gas at an even $4.00 per gallon. I'd had to pay as mush as $4.259 on the first of July.

Now that we've moved, my commute is a whopping 3.3 miles each way. I figured that if I didn't make any extended side trips to other areas, I just might be able to go a whole months between filling my tank. I had been able to achieve that five years before, when my work was in the Loop and I usually had to just drive to the train station.

In August, I was still getting stuff moved, and the month ended with me driving to my parents 50th Anniversary party in Iowa. September also saw some side trips to the northern burbs. But when I filled up on Sept. 27, paying $3.899 per gallon, I found myself with no business for the following month besides getting to work or running for groceries.

As the month of October wound down, I saw that I not only might reach my personal goal, but with the price of gas tumbling through the month, I might just be able to make my next fill-up at a dollar a gallon less than the last time.

33 days later, on Oct. 30, I finally succumbed to the needle's dance around the letter "E". As the old Toyota had suffered much indignity from being parked under a tree for three months, I decided to splurge on a car wash at Delta Sonic. Imagine my glee at choosing the "car wash" discount and paying only $2.769 per gallon, a whole $1.12 less than last time. Imagine myself discovering that due to the sneaky arrangement of gas grade buttons on the pump, I had actually filled up with the "Mid-grade" gas, instead of my usual "Regular," which would've been $2.669.

Still, I had managed to enjoy a small victory and to justify the great expense of moving out. But I had discovered that by now driving mostly short, in-city trips, the mileage on my '95 Tercel had dwindled from a self-satisfied 38 miles per gallon to barely over 25 mpg.

Still, it looks like my next fill will cost at least 50 cents a gallon less than this one. See you in November!